After finishing second in the NCAA tournament last season, the No. 1 team in the nation is also looking for its first-ever national championship this season. The following is a breakdown of each wrestling class for the Cornell wrestling team.
Senior Frank Perrelli, ranked No. 16 in the nation at 125 pounds, will finally get his chance to shine this season after backing-up four-time All-American and 2009 national champion Troy Nickerson ’10.
“Being behind Troy for a couple of years was a great learning experience, but now it is my time to step in,” he said.
Sophomore Joe Stanzione will likely play a major role for at least the first few weeks of the season in place of injured 2008 All-American senior Mike Grey who is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation at 133 pounds. Grey took it all in stride when talking about his injury.
“It is what it is, but I have a lot of confidence in my backup Joe Stanzione,” Grey said.
Senior Corey Manson heads into his final season at Cornell ranked No. 19 in the nation at 141 pounds according to WrestlingReport.
Sophomore Kyle Dake, who has risen up a weight class to 149 pounds, is coming off one of the most impressive rookie seasons in Cornell history. The Ithaca native earned Ivy League and National Rookie of the Year honors. He closed out last season with a 24-match win streak culminating in a national championship over Iowa’s Montell Marion. Dake doesn’t want to stop there though.
“My goal is not just being a one-time champ,” he said. “I’ve always dreamt of being a four-timer. So this year I’m going to be working for another national title.”
The rankings make Dake a favorite to repeat.
Senior D.J. Meagher enters this season at 157 pounds looking to bounce back from an injury that kept him out for most of last season.
Senior Justin Kerber enters the season ranked No. 5 in the nation at 165 pounds. He is coming off his second straight appearance at nationals and his second first-team All-Ivy award.
The nation’s No. 1 wrestler at 174 pounds is senior Mack Lewnes. The two-time All-American comes into the season after having been named Ivy League Wrestler of the Year for the second consecutive time last season.
At 184 pounds, junior Steve Bosak is considered by head coach Rob Koll to be the most improved wrestler on the team and to have a legitimate shot of winning a national championship. WrestlingReport has placed him at No. 3 in the nation.
At 197 pounds is Cornell’s third returning All-American, junior Cam Simaz. Like Lewnes, Simaz is ranked No. 1 in the nation in his division and is a two-time All-American.
Competing for the starting spot at heavyweight are junior Oney Snyder and sophomore Stryker Lane. Both men had limited experience for the Red last season in what was also the first season on the team for both.
Original Author: Brian Bencomo